Scouting for MST in a Day

I’ve done the whole Mountains-to-Sea Trail but there are parts of the trail that I go back to over and over again. These sections are close, easy and can work in many circumstances.

So I was thrilled when Kate D. and Betsy B. of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail asked me to lead a “celebrity” hike for MST-in-a-Day on Saturday September 9 – this coming Saturday. We’re going from the Folk Art Center to the Visitor Center and back.

You may wonder what a celebrity is – so did I. We’ve invited Carolyn Ward of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Brad Cave of Eastern National, John Slaughter, the current acting superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and several retired superintendents. I don’t know who will show up but I know I will – rain or shine.

No matter how many times I do a hike, I scout it before I lead it again. So a couple of days ago, I drove to the Folk Art Center and walked MST-west to the Visitor Center – 2.9 miles or so.

The trail was manicured, as you would expect since it is a popular section. On a Saturday morning, there were lots of runners, dog walkers and three hikers who recognized me.

The photographer, Jennifer Mesk,runs the website Humans of Asheville  and she interviewed me a while back.

“You’re the one with the book,” she said.

“Yeah, several..”

Hearts-a-Bustin

Fall flowers abound: hearts-a-Bustin also known as strawberry bush, bowman’s root, goldenrod and jewel weed. Spring flowers may be more popular when we come out of winter but fall flowers are just as fascinating.

But the most surprising were the cows in the pasture under the Blue Ridge Parkway. See the picture above.

Twenty cows blocking the trail were intimidating but they moved and mooed as soon as I approached.

Swannanoa River

The trail crossed the Swannanoa River and climbed up past a house or two and eventually reached the Visitor Center. After chatting to Eastern National employees and having a snack, I retraced my steps.

I will be at the Folk Art Center by 9 am. The hike will start promptly at 9:30am.

Please come and join me. Let’s see what celebrities show up.

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